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Saturday, September 12, 2009

NATIONAL ARTISTS CHOICE A DONE DEAL – NCCA


National Artists choice a done deal—NCCA
‘Battle is over’
By Kristine L. Alave

MANILA, Philippines — Everything else is ceremony, so even if critics rail all they want against four of this year’s choices for National Artist, the battle is over, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chair Vilma Labrador said Friday.

In a speech after a thanksgiving Mass at the NCCA headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on Friday, Labrador said the distinction given to the seven new National Artists—four of whom skirted the deliberations and were picked by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo—have already been given.

“All seven were just awaiting the proclamation. The program or the awarding is just ceremony. The battle is over,” said Labrador.

The Supreme Court recently ordered the postponement of the conferment rites after a group of artists and civil sector organizations questioned the President’s picks.

Despite the cancellation of the conferment, Labrador said the seven can lay claim to the title of National Artist, according to the NCCA chair.

“Cecille Alvarez and the others are now National Artists. The proclamation has been signed. So since July 6, Cecille has been a National Artist,” she added.

To be conferred the awards were: theater stalwart Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, filmmakers Manuel Urbano (aka Manuel Conde) and Carlo Magno Jose J. Caparas, visual artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, novelist Lazaro Francisco, architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa and fashion designer Jose “Pitoy” Moreno.

Alvarez, Caparas, Mañosa, and Moreno were not on the original shortlist and were added as a prerogative of the President.

Alvarez, meanwhile, welcomed the Supreme Court’s intervention in the controversial case which has divided the artistic and cultural community.

The founder of the Philippine Educational Theater Association, who was derided for accepting the award while holding the post of NCCA executive director, said she was looking forward to the oral arguments.

“I’m happy that it’s in the court,” she said. “There will be no more shouting in the streets. We can have a civilized discussion.”

After the controversy erupted, Alvarez said her children told her to turn down the award.

But so much has happened that it was now impossible for her to turn her back to it.

“My children were crying. They wanted me to return the award. It’s easy to say, but I’ve realized to fight for my principles,” she said.

“They painted this as if a crime happened, that’s why I’m taking a stand,” Alvarez said.

“We will not surrender,” she said.


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:02:00 08/29/2009
Filed Under: Arts and Culture and Entertainment, Awards and Prizes, Conflicts (general)

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